Picks and Pans Review: Heat

updated 03/30/1987 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/30/1987 AT 01:00 AM EST

To accentuate the positive, this is the perfect entertainment for people who would enjoy watching Burt Reynolds, Peter (Sophie's Choice) MacNicol and Diana (Extremities) Scarwid mill around Las Vegas for an hour and a half, waiting for a movie to happen. Other than that it is a remarkably pointless, lame waste of time, written by William Goldman from his own novel. The director is listed as "R.M. Richards," though the film was actually directed by a consortium that included Dick Richards, who quit after he and Burt got into a brawl. To call the plot moronic would be to give it the benefit of the doubt. Reynolds is a Vietnam veteran who has become a professional bodyguard in Vegas because he is such an efficient fighter. While he has obviously seen a Bruce Lee movie or two—he can fight in slow motion—his specialty is edged weapons. (Reynolds indeed seems to have taken a paper shredder to the script.) MacNicol, a rich, chattery nerd, wants Burt to teach him bravery. Karen (9½ Weeks) Young, a hooker who has been sadistically assaulted by a mobster's son, wants revenge. Young is among a number of characters who wander idly in and out of the story. The events before, during and after the inevitable fight-out are not remotely plausible. Nor are they stylish or interesting. At one point Reynolds and MacNicol are talking in an alley and MacNicol says, "Why don't we go back to the city lights and find some of that glitter and glitz?" So they go stand on a building and talk some more, then continue the chat in a hotel room. At one point, Scarwid, a casino blackjack dealer, breaks into tears when Reynolds blows $100,000 in one hand at her table. It couldn't have been too hard for her to get motivated to cry; all she had to do was think about what a shlocky movie she would be associated with for the rest of her career. (R)

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